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All a Twitter: Social media leads to construction business success

To be the best, you have to tweet with the best.

That’s the policy embraced by the marketing department at Neenah-based Miron Construction Co., one of the country’s top 100 contractors according to the Engineering News-Record. Jen Bauer, director of marketing at Miron, said her company uses its website, social media and its frequently updated blog to stay connected to clients, partners and the community.

“We use social media as a way to build brand awareness, to keep Miron front and center,” Bauer said. “But we also use it as a way to build relationships. … You never know when a connection may turn into a lead and, ultimately, a project.”

That social media stance isn’t just for large companies with multimember marketing departments, however.

According to a survey this year from Massachusetts-based research firm SMB Group Inc., more than half of businesses with fewer than 100 employees regularly use social media. That’s up from 44 percent last year.

Indianapolis remodeling contractor Steve Gray has his small company thinking big through its online presence.

Gray has made his firm’s website the cornerstone of its marketing plan, he said. Stevegrayrenovations.com includes videos and slideshows that allow users to follow a project from start to finish. Gray also shares photos on Facebook, Pinterest, Flickr and construction industry-specific site Houzz.com.

“We’re in a highly visual industry,” Gray told the Associated Press. “The website allows us to show people what we do and how we do it. As long as we continue to feed it, it works for us 24/7/365.”

Large or small, companies are achieving results in the ultra-competitive construction industry. So why are so many companies reluctant to move into the digital age?

According to The Society for Marketing Professional Services in an August 2011 white paper called “The client’s use of social media and social networking,” authors Holly Bolton, director of marketing for CE Solutions; Adam Kilbourne, director of marketing for Tec Inc. Engineering & Design; and Dana Galvin, communications director for construction firm Barton Malow, sought the opinions of more than 1,600 members and received 160 completed responses. They found social media is being used by only 36 percent of engineering firms, 24 percent of architecture companies and 17 percent of construction and landscape design offices.

Those small percentages are not lost on Miron’s Bauer.

“We understand that we live in a digital age,” she said. “The ways that people gather information are vastly different than it was even a decade ago. Our website is the digital face of our company.”

Bauer, on her own blog on Miron’s website, lays out seven useful tips to break into the social media battle zone. She says to have a plan, find out where your audience is, start with something you know, content is king, be the expert, devote time and claim existing profiles.

Miron, for its part, has transformed its image and it does business and attracts new customers in a social media age. Bauer and her team understand the Web allows them to reach people they never could before.

“We have a fantastic team of business development individuals, but they can only talk to so many people each day,” Bauer said. “Our social media channels allow us to vastly increase those numbers.”

It’s a numbers game being won by those who know how to be social.

Joe Yovino is the Web editor at The Daily Reporter. He can be reached by Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Digg, email, snail mail, his blog, his vlog, Foursquare, instant messaging, crowdsourcing, Skype, Facetime, Pinterest, Instagram, Bebo, Chatter, Cyworld, Diaspora, Hi5, Hyves, Mixi, Netlog, Ning, Orkut, Plaxo, Tagged, Tuenti, XING and Yammer. But please don’t call him.

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